Investing In Yourself: Effective Ways And Strategies To Develop Your Most Valuable Asset
The most valuable asset you’ll ever own in life isn’t your house with that great backyard and view. It also isn’t that stuffed 401(k) account you’ve been max contributing to since day one. However, investing in your most valuable asset, directly or inadvertently, has likely led you to accruing those other assets. We’re talking about investing in yourself…
So what is that most valuable asset?
The great vessel and operating system guiding you from day one to the present and hopefully well into the future. It’s the asset with the highest profit potential and also the greatest opportunity for improvement. You can refine and develop yourself like no other asset. Extremely adaptable to grow to the heights you’re able to push yourself to.
We are able to compound real-world skills and experiences for big gains. Those gains might be in your career, personal life, finances, specific hobbies or however you see fit.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein.
In the essence of Mr. Einstein, let’s keep questioning and growing.
THE LPR Strategy To Investing In Yourself
To better invest in myself, I implement a strategy I dub LPR. It’s a 3-step self development and learning framework I’ve been using the last few years. It’s not scientifically proven or taken from a respected journal of higher learning so please don’t look to cite this.
It’s a straightforward, simplistic approach to investing in yourself.
So what’s LPR?
Learn. Pursue. Regroup. (3 Steps To Investing In Yourself)
Stuff your brain with knowledge and practical understanding. Put that learning into action to build active understanding. And then analyze what’s working or what isn’t. Refine that then rinse and repeat.
It’s basic and runs a consistent framework to anything you want to do in life. This quote from Warren Buffet sums it up the net benefit of investing in yourself very nicely.
“Ultimately, there’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself. Nobody can take away what you’ve got in yourself, and everybody has potential they haven’t used yet.” – Warren Buffett.
GOAL SETTING – THE PRE-LPR STAGE OF INVESTING IN YOURSELF
Before moving into the specifics of the different phases of learning, pursuing and regrouping, let’s quickly touch on goal setting. You’ve taken the initiative by even considering investing in yourself. However, why are you doing this and what are you hoping to achieve? What is the goal?
In order for this to be most effective, taking a strategic approach will be key.
The Mind Tools Golden Rules of Goal Setting are perfectly aligned when considering investing in yourself:
- Set Goals That Motivate You: you are inspired to invest in yourself and now boil down what you want to accomplish to motivate you.
- Use SMART Goals: the great SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based) framework for goals.
- Write Your Goals Down: the physical act of writing down your goals is very powerful.
- Make An Action Plan: reverse engineer your goals from the endpoint back to the beginning and identify those key milestones.
- Stick With It: we covered this in the Pursue section with commitment.
Using this approach will set you up for success as you navigate whatever it is you’re looking to achieve.
It will help guide the decision making process of investing in yourself:
- Which are the best resources to learn from
- What the best course of action is to achieve that
- How the process went by reflecting on those goals
LEARN – KNOWLEDGE BUILDING OF INVESTING IN YOURSELF
The first phase of the LPR strategy: Learn.
Or the knowledge accrual stage.
No matter the skill, topic or tool you’re looking to better master, there are a variety of levers to effectively invest in yourself through the power of learning.
The first recommendation I would make is to checkout resources on becoming a “better learner”. There are suggested tactics and strategies to help you better intake information and master it for practical use.
Here are a few resources discussing the topic of becoming a better learner:
In terms of the tools of learning, the costs of these investments can be anywhere from $0 to whatever sum you can imagine. A micro life or career skill can be achieved in a cost-effective means. While a major personal investment could be a 5-figure annual cost on a trainer, mentor, course and so on.
This is all contextual…the first thing you need to answer is:
What YOU want to accomplish by investing in yourself?
Do you want to accrue skills and knowledge for your career? Are you looking to better develop your entrepreneurial mindset to take the leap into your own business? Or maybe you just want to learn a new hobby to deliver personal growth and development?
Exploring those questions will put you on the right course of where to go next. No matter what that investment is, there are boundless tools for learning.
Below we can explore four common avenues: books, courses, people and podcasts. There are dozens of other ways to invest in your body and mind, the route is totally tied to what you’re hoping to achieve.
WAYS TO INVEST IN YOURSELF: BOOKS
A tried and tested form of investing in yourself that has been existence for over a millennium. Leveraging the linguistics and knowledgeable insights from talented authors.
According to Thomas C. Corley of Rich Habits, “85% of self-made millionaires read two books or more every month. They read books that help them grow and learn: career, how-to, biographies, self-help, health, leadership, history, current events, and more.”
In my personal experience, it can be so much easier said than done. It’s sound so blatantly obvious that reading has amazing development benefits. But I’ve gone through ebbs and flows of reading.
You might have had a similar track record with reading as me.
Lifehack wrote this article that shares 10 benefits of reading everyday. Outside of the learning aspect, the net benefits on your concentration, vocabulary, stress reduction and so on, are things I wholeheartedly agree with.
My goal this year is to read a minimum of 25 books. Here are 4 of my favourites books so far this:
- Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
- Principles: Life And Work by Ray Dalio
- The Spider Network: How a Math Genius and a Gang of Scheming Bankers Pulled Off One of the Greatest Scams in History by David Enrich
Related Post: If you’re looking for more inspiration, I’ve included some of my all-time favourite personal finance and personal development reads on my book recommendations page.
WAYS TO INVEST IN YOURSELF: COURSES
Another great tool to investing in yourself? The concise, organized thoughts of industry leaders or experts out into a nicely packaged course.
Be that a digital course or in-person class. Written word, video or face-to-face instruction. The number of opportunities to keep accruing knowledge through courses are continually growing thanks to this digital age of education.
The Udemy platform now offers over 55,000 different courses that are often under $15. From dividend investing to website coding and learning a language or piano, Udemy has it all. Want a suggestion? Here are 55 online courses for millennials, entrepreneurs and side hustlers.
Are they Harvard accredited courses? No. Is it an opportunity to further develop a skill or grow your knowledge? Yes.
If you’re looking for more intensive courses, check your local universities continued-learning programs.
Here are 50+ free online classes from various universities you might want to check out. The topics covered include technology, sciences, business and humanities.
WAYS TO INVEST IN YOURSELF: PEOPLE
Another timeless learning tool that can drive investment into your most valuable asset? People.
Mentors, senior leaders in your industry, networking opportunities…the list could go on.
Learn from the experiences others before you have had.
Connect face-to-face and develop that relationship. Hop on Skype for borderless learning opportunities. Make that LinkedIn connection with an aspirational person in your industry and find time for that coffee. Jump into message boards and online communities to discuss common topics.
This article from Entrepreneur touches on the best places to start when looking for a mentor.
Investing in yourself through the knowledge and experiences of people is a continued means of development that will pay endless dividends.
WAYS TO INVEST IN YOURSELF: PODCASTS
What if I told you I could get you access to an amazing IPO with an infinite level of knowledge to return on your $0 investment?
That’s what podcasts are when you use them effectively.
For no cost, outside of time, you can sit in on private conversations (being shared with the public world) between some of the smartest most successful people in any industry, niche or topic.
If you’re looking for new podcasts to add to your playlist here is a master list featuring 85+ best podcasts to improve your life, finances, business, health and more.
Podcasts have changed my life. That isn’t even hyperbole. Podcasts have positively impacted my career, finances, health, mindset, relationships and general enjoyment. The ease of access and breadth of information now being shared for free on podcasts is a personal development tool that can’t be overlooked.
I’m a MAJOR podcast advocate.
Here are the 30+ best personal finance podcasts if you want to include building money knowledge as your of your strategy to invest in yourself.
OTHER GREAT WAYS TO INVEST IN YOURSELF
Investing in yourself needs to ladder up and align with what fits best for YOU. That might be books and courses or it might be something entirely different. The road to where you want to get to doesn’t have one path, it can have many twists and turns.
Some of these ideas on investing in yourself below might spark an idea or solution as well:
- Learning New Skills And Hobbies
- Personal Trainer
- Launching A Business
- Investing For Retirement
- Attend A Conference
- Sleep More
- Pay Off Debt
If the goal is to continue to develop and push yourself forward, that can be accomplished through a collection of means. Whether it’s personal development or professional development, the best thing to do it just take action.
PURSUE – PUTTING TO ACTION INVESTING IN YOURSELF
Now that we accrued a collection of knowledge on the topic or skill, it’s time for the implementation phase of LPR: Pursue.
Whether it was personal or professional, we need to put that initial investment of learning into action to gain experience and understanding.
This is a pretty self explanatory phase.
It’s time to walk the walk to test out this new foundation of skills and knowledge.
The specific action of course varies depending on what your personal investment is. Which could be one of a million things. So we have to keep it broad here. But there are a few pieces of advice to make the most of your pursuit.
COMMITMENT TO INVESTING IN YOURSELF
Half-heartedly pursuing any personal development investment is going to lead to marginal returns.
Investing in yourself requires commitment.
That might mean a monetary commitment. Or it could just be a time commitment. But it will definitely require a committed mindset to achieving what you’re hoping to learn or develop. Write your goal or vision down. Stick it your fridge and mirror. Create a line item in your annual budget for self improvement. Set up reminders in your Google Calendar.
Do anything you can to stay committed to whatever it you’re doing to invest in yourself.
This article from Paid to Exist really hit the nail on the head on how to stay committed:
- Get Your Mindset Right
- Refine Your Goals
- Focus On What’s Important
- Hold Yourself Accountable
Whatever this personal development investment is you’re pursuing, commit!
Related Post: This post on creating accountability with your personal finances shares some strategies I use to stay committed and connected to my money.
CONSISTENCY IN YOUR PURSUIT
Similar to a committed mindset, developing a new skill or growing knowledge requires consistent implementation.
Remember back when you were a kid learning to tie your shoes, ride a bike, learn multiplication, etc.? The consistent practice of those tasks or skills is what drilled them into your DNA.
The same applies now as an adult. Be that mastering your finances, sharpening your public speaking skills or learning website coding.
Consistency is key.
I’m guilty of falling short on this. You get this new book that’s going to change your mindset…you read the first half and somehow get distracted by other things then never return to finish it. Maybe you start working out and hit your stride for 3 weeks…have a tough week or two at work and never get back to the gym for months.
Schedule time. Put it in your calendar. Get a personal development buddy to create accountability.
Wax on, wax off.
Consistent implementation and learning comes through experience.
A WILLINGNESS TO FAIL
Any investment with major returns generally carries a heightened level of risk. With personal development investments that risk often comes through the form of failure.
Investing in yourself with a mindset of being willing to fail.
Here are 8 different TED Talks about learning from failure, including JK Rowling the author of the Harry Potter series.
Whether you’re learning a new skill, trying to improve your public speaking or starting a new hobby, being comfortable with small failures will only build you up to be stronger in the end. There are a dozen cliche lines from movies about getting back up after being knocked down.
REGROUP – ANALYZING THE RESULTS OF INVESTING IN YOURSELF
The final stage of LPR is reflecting on the investment you’ve made in yourself to date: Regroup.
Timelines for this depends on what that investment was. It could be a few weeks or potentially upwards of a year-plus. Again this is very broad and would need to be specifically aligned to your (or my) situation.
The purpose of this stage is to understand if we were successful or not on our intended outcome. Or are we tracking towards success. The regroup could be quantitative with data to support your review or just qualitative through your own personal feeling and anecdotes.
A popular recommendation here would be to leverage both micro and major regroups.
MICRO REGROUPS ON YOUR DEVELOPMENT
You could call these as more of a spot-check or maintenance upkeep. Micro regroups along the way allow for course corrections and improvements.
Am I learning more about ‘x’ subject? Are my skills in this field of practice (tech, art, finances, etc.) getting better? Has my cardio improved? Are the results I am intending coming to fruition?
Evaluating the wins and losses along the course of personal development and investing in yourself is a must.
Clearly, in order for this step to be effective you need to have specific goals set for investing in yourself.
That’s why the goal setting process outlined earlier in the article is so key. The Mind Tools Golden Rules of Goal Setting become really effective and relevant in this regroup stage of deciding to invest in yourself.
This is where reverse engineering your major goal comes into play as well. The micro regroups are those milestones you’re looking to achieve during the bigger journey of reaching that major goal (or outcome on investing in yourself).
MAJOR REGROUP ON THE INVESTMENT
This would be more a holistic reflection on what we were looking to accomplish. This is a very unique situation depending on the specific goal you had for investing in yourself.
Did the intendended investment (or learning) outcome occur?
Once again the necessity of goal setting is clear at the front here.
Mastering the practice of goal setting is an essential step of investing in yourself. Here is another article to help you better achieve your goals from Entrepreneur.
CONCLUSION: INVESTING IN YOURSELF (THE KEY TO PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT)
Take it from the wise words of one of the most successful and respected businessmen:
“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.” – Warren Buffett.
You’re the most valuable asset you will ever own and continuing to learn, develop and enjoy life should be a priority. No matter how big or how small that investment might be.
Whether it’s a book on personal development, affordable online course from Udemy, downloading dozens of podcast episodes to improve your life and a conference super-focused to your career path, the net return can 10x the investment if applied properly.
The LRP strategy is just an easy way to package up saying: build the knowledge, test the knowledge and figure out if it worked.
How do you invest in yourself?
What have been some of the most effective investments you’ve ever made in yourself?
Let me know in the comments below.
Here are some other posts to help you take control of your money and life:
- Waking Up At 5AM Changed My Life – Win The Morning, Win The Day
- A Productive Day Starts The Night Before – Set Yourself Up For A Successful Morning
- Be The CEO And CFO Of Your Life: Manage Your Money Like A Business
- Best Books For Twenty Somethings: 10+ Books On Money And Life
- Top 75+ Podcasts To Help Improve Your Life, Finances, Business, Health And More
- 15 Smart Money Moves You Can (Easily) Make This Month